Pizza dough

When I first started making pizza I would go down to my local pizza joint and ask to buy some dough. Inevitably I would get some confused looks from the teenage clerk and they’d charge me a few bucks and that was it. Then one day I came across a pizza place that was too snooty to sell me their dough. I argued and cried, but the way they saw it I was depriving them of income by slinging my own pies. I stormed home and to spite them I started experimenting with my own dough. After lots of practice here’s my perfected recipe. Feel free to improvise.

As you can see from the attached picture, it’s a lot of fun to make with the kids.


  • 2 packages of dry active yeast or 4 tsp
  • ½ cup warm water (100 to 110 degree f)
  • 1 cup of rye flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • 3 ½ cup unbleached flour
  • a few handfuls of flour
  • a few handfuls of cornmeal


  • heavy-duty mixer with the dough hook
  • dry measuring cup
  • wet measuring cup
  • large bowl
  • rolling pin
  • pizza stone
  • pizza peal
  • a few hours time to allow for the dough rise.


  1. Pour ½ cup of warm water in the mixer bowl; stir in the 2 packages yeast and dissolve so that there are no clumps. Once the yeast is fully dissolved, stir in 1 cup rye four with your spoon to make a stiff sticky dough. Cover and set aside in a warm place for about one hour.
  2. Add the milk, water, olive oil and salt to your original dough. Mix at a low speed. Add the remaining flower and knead at a medium speed for up to 10 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. This texture will make for a crispier crust.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil. Turn to grease the top. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours.
  4. Knock the dough back, and knead a couple of times and then let it rise another 40 minutes.
  5. When the dough is ready, divide into six pieces, and form in to six fist sized balls. With a rolling pin, roll individual balls on a floured surface as thinly as possible. Each dough ball should roll out to make a 10 to 12 inch pizza base.
  6. When you are ready to prepare your pizza, place your pizza stone into oven and preheat to 495 F. In ideal circumstances pizza is cooked at up to 600 F, most home ovens are not able to get that hot. To compensate you should preheat a good 30 minutes in advance to let that pizza stone get good and hot.
  7. Place a healthy handful of cornmeal on your pizza peal and transfer your rolled dough to the peal. The cornmeal allows the dough to easily slide off the board when you are ready to transfer the pizza to the oven.
  8. Top with yummy things. See my Winter and Summer pizza recipes and bake at 495 F until done. Your average pizza will take about fifteen minutes, but times can vary so be vigilant. I like it nice and crispy so as I general rule of thumb I like to wait until the crust is firm before removing.

What you should know

Unused balls can be placed in individual plastic baggies and frozen for up to six months.

If you don’t have any rye flower, don’t fret. I will sometimes use unbleached flour in a pinch. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s not bad.

Re: Pizza dough

What if I don’t have a ‘heavy-duty mixer with the dough hook’? Do you think my bread machine would work? Or can I mix it by hand? How much turning do you recommend? I can’t wait to try it!

Re: Pizza dough

Mixing by hand is certainly a possibility, but an arduous one. I would recommend using your bread maker as it should be perfect for the task.

Re: Pizza dough